• Maple Valley mom's diligence leads to child rape charges against Army captain, former scout leader

    By: John Knicely

    Updated:

    MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. - A U.S. Army captain and former Boy Scouts leader is facing multiple counts of child rape, and King County detectives are looking into the possibility of more victims. The charges come thanks to the diligence of a Western Washington mother whose son died by suicide. 

    Garrett Sypole, of Maple Valley, killed himself at age 17 in August 2017.  In a letter he left behind, he revealed the secret that weighed him down.

    “That his brother, Bobby, had raped him when he was about 5 or 6,” Laurie Boyce-Sypole, Sypole's mother, told KIRO 7 on Thursday.

    Boyce-Sypole's diligence eventually led to a child molestation charge against her step-son, Robert Sypole, stemming from the time he spent in Maple Valley in the early 2000s.  He primarily lived with his mother in Memphis, Tennessee.

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    Robert pleaded not guilty in August 2018 in King County, was released on bail and returned to his military base in Virginia, where he's an Army captain.

    But something Sypole wrote in a letter to his mom kept her going.

    "'You've always done the right thing and you always will,'” Boye-Sypole read from Garrett’s letter. “And initially, I just thought it was a compliment, but I think I know he was telling me that he wanted me to do something about it.”

    She feared Robert could have more victims.

    “I just felt it in my gut,” she said.  “This is not isolated. From a human instinct, when you look at pictures on social media, that just don't seem right for a man of his age with children and that kind of thing.”

    So, in November 2018, she gave 135 photos to police showing Robert Sypole with young children.

    “I started reaching out to people whose names were tagged in the photos,”she said.  “Within two weeks of me contacting those families in Virginia, the authorities were investigating and he was arrested.”

    Military police arrested Sypole and handed him over to Virginia authorities. He now faces four counts of child rape, and now police are looking into his previous time in Memphis, Tennessee, as a Boy Scouts leader.  

    In December, King County detectives sent a letter to families of people who had contact with Sypole locally. The letter encouraged them to talk to their children and reach out to their local Child Advocacy Center.  So far, there are no reports of additional victims in western Washington.

    Boyce-Sypole says her mission now is to free any other victims of the burden Garrett carried for years and honor his bravery, even in death.

    “They would have never known,” she said, “if Garrett hadn't left his message.”
     

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